OK, you've bitten the bullet and decided to hire a naming firm for your next branding initiative. You've researched and vetted several firms, and you've picked one that feels like a good match.

It's not an insignificant investment, and there's a lot riding on it. So what do you do now?

Some companies think that once they've hired a brand naming specialist, their job is essentially over: They can sit back and their naming company will go off into its mysterious black box, do all the work, and (voila!) they'll deliver that one perfect name. (In truth, some naming firms foster such illusions.) Others think their naming agency will need constant oversight and direction in order to deliver on its mission.

The reality is somewhere in between. It's important that you find a naming firm you trust, then let it do its job without second-guessing or trying to manage the creative process. Otherwise, you'll be thwarting the very capabilities that attracted you to it in the first place.

On the other hand, there are things that you as client can do that will vastly improve your naming agency's chances of getting it right. Here are 10 commandments to follow.

1. Honor thy positioning, and keep it holy. A clear vision of your brand's positioning is the driver for all branding efforts, including naming. If you don't have a positioning statement, develop one before starting the creative process (with the help of your naming company, if they're up to it). And take your time. Nothing is more important.

2. Thou shalt gather intelligence. Your naming consultant will want to know everything about your brand: its mission, customers, competitors, capabilities, benefits, projected expansion into other areas, and so on. You can enrich and streamline the discovery process by gathering pertinent information ahead of time, including a list of all of your key competitors' brand names and the results of any naming efforts you've conducted internally (including comments on what worked and what didn't).

3. Thou shalt know thy internal naming team (although not in the Biblical sense). Identifying your naming team members may not be as simple as it sounds. For instance, you may think your naming team is your marketing team, or the group of people you picked to work on this project. In truth, your naming team is everyone who needs to sign off on the new name (but ideally no one else; see Commandment 8). Even the CEO is part of your naming team if you're going to need his or her approval. Which leads us to the Fourth Commandment...

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image of Beth Gerber

Beth Gerber is a creative director at Catchword, a full-service naming company founded in 1998, with offices in the San Francisco Bay Area and New York City.

LinkedIn: Beth Gerber